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Title: The value of dress in the Cecil household, (c. 1550-1612)
Author: Gomulkiewicz, Abigail
ISNI:       0000 0004 9354 3329
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis considers how William Cecil (1520-1598), Lord Burghley, his family, and his household dressed. It investigates how the Cecil household from the middle of the sixteenth century to the early seventeenth century perceived dress and how they demonstrated their political power and social position through their clothing choices. The thesis concentrates on the clothing worn by individuals either every day or during ceremonial or special occasions and highlights the values given to different fabrics, colours, styles, and decorations found in the elite and non-elite wardrobes. Attention to these specific clothing choices and their continuities or changes allows the thesis to show how cloth and clothing was constructed and worn in early modern England and allows for a greater appreciation of England’s interconnections with Europe and the wider world. In addition, this thesis includes a new methodology for examining the early modern experience of dress. It combines a more traditional engagement with textual sources such as household accounts and letters alongside extant objects with historical reconstruction. This methodology moves beyond a linguistic or semiotic interpretive system for dress to investigate ‘materiality’ and lived practice in order to gain access into clothing as embodied practice. This methodology considers how the garments themselves shaped the household and its members as well as the crucial role artisans and craftsmen and craftswomen had in the creation and care of early modern garments. Thus, the thesis explores how cloth and clothing in Elizabethan and early Jacobean society became linked to abstract concepts such as power and authority through the more concrete individual, familial and household identities and associations of those who made, chose, gifted and performed them.
Supervisor: Rublack, Ulinka Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Elizabethan England ; Material Culture ; William Cecil ; Dress ; Early Modern